It’s a disturbingly familiar sight. Thousands of desperate, terrified people fleeing for their lives in blind panic until within a few feet from safety their progress comes to a chaotic halt.
As I think back 46 years to the news coverage of the fall of Saigon, the scenes are interchangeable, right down to the helicopters.
It’s American foreign policy in a nutshell. They involved themselves in Vietnam and Cambodia because they didn’t want communism becoming dominant in south east Asia.
They failed and finally decided to cut their losses and get out knowing full well that they were leaving a population to its fate.
The US presence in Afghanistan was intrinsic to George W. Bush’s war on terror in the aftermath of 9/11, but with The Taliban now in control, America is doing it again, only this time an entire generation of Afghans, especially women, have benefited from freedoms we take for granted here, like an education, only to see it given away by a protector with an election promise to keep.
Joe Biden is saying it was never about nation building, yet in 2001 he said the exact opposite and those votes at home are now going to be paid for with the lives of people thousands of miles away.
Biden’s decision may have received widespread condemnation across the rest of the world, but there will be many at home who will be completely on side, regardless of the fact that it has made the American lives lost over the past 20 years utterly pointless.
And what of the British troops? Our position has been completely dictated by the policy of a third
party who probably would have trouble pointing out Afghanistan on a map.
We’re not in the habit of leaving a job half done and no matter how many people are successfully airlifted out before the end of the month, by our or US forces, far more will be left behind.
What other change of government could prompt such a mass exodus to leave a country?
As for the new rulers, the Taliban are Muslim fundamentalists who will impose Sharia law and woe betide anyone who doesn’t toe the line. They are not like the vast majority of Muslims living in Britain and around the globe, who are peace loving, community minded and enjoy a good laugh as much as the next man.
The whole raison d’etre of the Taliban is a devout adherence to Sharia law by whatever means they deem necessary and the eradication of infidels (that’s us). They have not changed because fundamentalists don’t. There is no grey area to a fundamentalist of any persuasion.
It’s a humanitarian tragedy. The images of Afghan nationals clinging to the fuselage of a plane as it takes off, only to fall to their deaths as it climbs towards the clouds should play on a loop in Joe Biden’s head for the rest of his days and hopefully beyond.
The Taliban has won the war for Afghanistan without any big decisive battle – it has been handed to them on a plate.
It is a very dangerous time, not only for abandoned Afghans who will now be targeted as having collaborated with the enemy, but for the entire western world as ISIS will have a safe haven to regroup.
And the US has allowed it to happen.
But for now, let’s just get as many people safe as possible, get them vaccinated of course, and concentrate on the immediate issue.
Stupid TV quiz answers of the week
Q: Which political assassin shouted the Latin phrase: “Sic semper Tyrannis” after shooting his victim?
A: Julius Caesar?
Q: Tawny and Barn are which type of nocturnal bird?
Q: Papillon is the French word for which flying insect?